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Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport delegates

Governments urged to recognise value of sport in sustainable development

26 June 2015

A group of policy experts drawn from across the Commonwealth has called on governments to invest in sport as a tool to contribute to internationally agreed development goals.

Although sport does not feature among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS) is asking policy-makers to recognise and embrace sport's potential as a catalyst for achieving change.

The intervention by CABOS comes as the Commonwealth Secretariat convenes the Commonwealth Sport & Post-2015 Forum, bringing together policy-makers, practitioners and academics, to boost awareness of, and identify strategies for, the use of sport to achieve the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The Forum, taking place between 25-26 June 2015 at the world renowned Wembley Stadium in London, looks at how sport policy priorities and funding choices by governments and international organisations may be affected by the new SDGS, which are set to come into force in 2016.

Speaking ahead of the Forum, the Chair of CABOS, Louise Martin CBE, issued a statement reiterating the body’s strong belief that sport can contribute to SDGs related to promoting healthy lives, education, gender equality, peaceful and inclusive societies, innovation, growth and employment.

“Sport has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the post-2015 development agenda and emerging Sustainable Development Goals,” Ms Martin said. “[We call] on Commonwealth leaders, including Heads of Government, to promote multi-sectorial approaches to scale these contributions.”

Appointed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, CABOS provides policy advice to the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth governments.

The CABOS Chair’s statement was issued following a meeting of the 14-member body in Trinidad and Tobago, hosted by the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency. During their meeting, CABOS members also stressed the importance of integrity and good governance for maximising the contribution of sport to sustainable development.

Oliver Dudfield, Head of Sport for Development and Peace at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “With this intervention, the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport is adding an authoritative voice to the debate around the role of sport in the post-2015 development agenda. Evidence suggests that people who participate in sports and regular physical exercise lead longer, healthier lives, while communities that embrace sport as a development tool benefit from wider social and economic benefits. This has policy implications for governments seeking to maximise the contribution that sport can make.”

For further information on CABOS as well as the Commonwealth Sport & Post-2015 Forum, please contact the Commonwealth Secretariat at sdp@commonwealth.int.